Partner Assisted Scanning - Back to Basics | SPD - Singapore

Partner Assisted Scanning - Back to Basics

Partner Assisted Scanning is a technique that can be used with a child or adult who is not able to use direct selection as a method. The communication partner goes through the choices in a sequential manner and the person who uses AAC then makes a selection through a predetermined gesture such as a nod, blink or vocalisation.

An example of Partner Assistance Scanning is as follows -

Communication partner: Where would you like to go today? Let me give you your choices. Do you want to go to shopping, McDonald’s, stay at home or something else?

Do you want to go shopping (pauses and waits for response, may point to a choice on the person’s communication chart)

Person using AAC: No response

Communication partner: Do you want to go to McDonald’s?

Person who uses AAC nods.

Communication partner: Oh, great. You want to go to McDonald’s. Thanks for telling me.


Partner Assisted Scanning is useful for clients who need indirect selection as their selection method but unable to cope with automatic scanning with a computerised communication device. With partner assisted scanning, the person who uses AAC is able to pause and adjust their speed of scanning according to the person’s needs. This will be difficult with a device, as it will scan at a consistent, repetitive speed.

Also, as the scanning is done by a ‘smart’ communication partner who is able to stop, provide cues and prompts, it is easier to reach people who are beginning to use AAC the concept.

The website PrAACticaAAC provides a great overview of Partner Assisted Scanning- PrAACticalAAC is one of the websites that is listed in our Resource section.


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  • Definitions
  • AAC Resources – A Review
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